Masters Thesis

Narrative retellings and the creation of identity discourse in western literature: three major adaptations of Robinson Crusoe

Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe is one of the most frequently retold narratives in western literature featuring over 700 adaptations in its 200-year history. Such copious retelling has turned the story into an occidental myth, a folktale of western identity relative to the rest of the world. This project explores three adaptations of Robinson Crusoe in the Robinsonade tradition and how they alter or contest the meaning of the canonical narrative by their retellings. These three novels — The Coral Island, Lord of the Flies, and John Dollar —produce their own branch of the Robinsonade tradition by speaking simultaneously to Defoe and to each other, signaling multiple associations within a single text. Examining the ways in which these narratives interact with each other and with the larger myth that encompass them will sheds light how literature contributes to developing archetypes that help society define their cultural identities